42-year-old former Mote Marine employee charged with 30 counts of possessing child sex abuse material

Damian Rosa jailed under $301,500 bond

Damian T. Rosa. Image courtesy Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office

A 42-year-old Sarasota man who worked as a maintenance technician at Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium on Ken Thompson Parkway in Sarasota has been charged with 30 counts of Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Material and a single count of Transmission of Child Sexual Abuse Material by Electronic Device, the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office has reported.

Damian Thomas Rosa of 12300 Fruitville Road, a Norwalk, Conn., native, was arrested on Dec. 8, the Sheriff’s Office said. As of Dec. 16, he remained in the Sarasota County Jail under total bond of $301,500, the agency’s Corrections Division noted. His arraignment on the charges has been set for Jan. 14, 2022.

“Detectives received a tip in October from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) after more than 50 images depicting child pornography were uploaded to a Google server,” a Sheriff’s Office news release explained. Through their investigation, the release added, “[D]etectives utilized the IP address used to upload the images” to identify Rosa as the suspect.

“A search of his Google account yielded 92 explicit images and videos,” with victims ranging in age from 4 to 17, the release said. The unidentified detective who wrote the narrative in the Sheriff’s Office report pointed out that 32 of the initial 52 images that detectives found involved female children “who were being forced to have sex with adult men” and who had been forced to expose their genitalia.

A search warrant executed on Rosa’s Google account led to the location of 40 other images and movies “of female children approximately 6-16 years old,” the narrative continued.

“During an interview, Rosa admitted to distributing illegal images to others online,” the release added.

The report narrative also noted that Rosa acknowledged to detectives that he had “utilized his cell phone to log into social media sites specifically Tumblr and MeWe.”

Rosa informed the detectives that “although he is aware child pornography is illegal, he believed the images were not an issue because they were accessible on the internet,” the report added.

The investigation is continuing, the release pointed out.

On his Facebook page, The Sarasota News Leader found, Rosa had written that he studied “Auto Tech 1&2 at Amarillo College,” which is located in Amarillo, Texas, according to its website.

A Dec. 14 check of Mote Marine’s staff list failed to find any information about Rosa.

This map shows the location of Damian Rosa’s home, as noted in Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office records. Image from Google Maps

A history of various criminal charges

The records for the 12th Judicial Circuit Court, maintained by the Sarasota County Clerk of the Circuit Court and County Comptroller, show that Rosa has a history of arrests on various counts.

For example, in February 2009, he was charged with a misdemeanor count of Domestic Battery. In that case, the 22-year-old female victim told a Sheriff’s Office deputy that she and Rosa had been at a friend’s house and were returning home when “they got into a verbal altercation in the car.”

After their arrival at their residence, the report continued, the woman said she went inside, but Rosa stayed in the car. She was taking a shower, she added, when Rosa entered the bathroom “and the verbal altercation resumed,” according to the report.

The victim told the deputy that Rosa “pushed her down in the tub (3-4 times) causing her to hit her head.” After she was able to get out of the tub, the report continued, she ran to a bedroom, but Rosa followed her. There, the report said, he “pushed her again,” causing her to fall to the floor. She finally was able to run to a neighbor’s home, where she called 911, the report added.

An officer found Rosa about one block from his and the victim’s residence and arrested him, the report noted.

Rosa pleaded “Not guilty” to that charge and asked for a jury trial, court records said.

This is a photo that Damian Rosa posted on his Facebook page. Image from Facebook

Then, on March 13, 2009, Assistant State Attorney David Sammons filed a form with the court saying that the State Attorney’s Office for the 12th Judicial Circuit no longer would proceed with the case.

Almost exactly five years earlier — in March 2004 — Rosa was charged with DUI after being stopped on Tuttle Avenue in Sarasota, a Sheriff’s Office report said.

That narrative noted that the deputy in that case was headed southbound on Tuttle “in the area of Bee Ridge Road” when he saw a vehicle in the northbound lane with its bright headlights on. The deputy made a U-turn and stopped the driver, who “smelled [of the] odor of alcohol and [had] very bloodshot eyes,” the report added. The driver also slurred his speech and had poor balance, the report noted.

Rosa told the deputy that he and a friend had been at Gilligan’s Island Bar & Grill on Siesta Key, where he “had wanted to party for his birthday,” the report said.

Rosa was ordered to pay a total of $488.25 in fines and court costs that case, court records show. In January 2006, the docket said, that case was sent to a collections agency.

In yet another incident, which occurred on July 4, 2005, Rosa was charged with possession of a controlled substance without a prescription. He was arrested at Siesta Public Beach, the probable cause affidavit said.

A passerby had alerted a deputy in the beach parking lot that Rosa, then 26, had approached her and other people, “asking for money,” the narrative noted. The female told the deputy that she thought Rosa had a knife, the report added.

In a search of Rosa’s vehicle, the deputy found Klonopin “in a black film container,” the report said.

Rosa initially told the deputy that the drugs belonged to friends of his, the report added. Later, the report said, he “stated that he found them at a bus stop.”

Rosa ended up pleading “No Contest” to a third-degree felony count of Possession of a Controlled Substance in that case, court records show. He was ordered to pay $320 in fines and court costs, but that case also ended up being sent to a collections agency, court records say.

He also has been charged with several traffic crimes since 2012, according to Circuit Court records: reckless driving, careless driving, unknowingly operating a vehicle while his driver’s license was suspended/canceled/revoked, and failure to stop for a red light.